I fell in love with the power of computing at the University of Washington in Seattle. First, in the late-1980s, pre-World Wide Web days, when we would telnet into chat rooms at other universities and all of a sudden, with the stroke of the keyboard, be talking to people from around the world. For me, it was revolutionary.
Many years later, I found myself back on campus working as product manager and co-innovator of the University of Washington’s course evaluation software, IASystem. During that time, I discovered my passion was steeped in creating technology that could make people’s work easier, collect feedback faster, and ultimately improve the academic experience.
Now living in North Carolina, I decided to take the entrepreneurial plunge and build EarlyGroove as a tool to connect people to groovy local events – entrepreneurial, cultural, educational, arts, entertainment, and wellness – on one streamlined, platform.
It took over a year to build my first minimally viable product (MVP) which was scheduled to launch at the start of this year. I’m not sure about other tech entrepreneurs, but the initial MVP was like writing the first draft of a big paper – it took a lot of research, was really hard, and when all was said and done, it was really rough around the edges and still needed a lot of editing.
I knew I had a great idea, but I also knew I needed help to refine it. I was accepted into Launch Greensboro’s LaunchLab growth accelerator. The 14-week program kicked off the second week in February, and 4 weeks later, the world changed for all of us.
By the second week in March, the whole basis for EarlyGroove, a platform focused on supporting and promoting in-person local events, was in jeopardy – as was the entire events industry.
We quickly shifted to support online events and started thinking about how we could support the new way businesses and organizations were pivoting to continue to deliver goods and services and connect with their communities and customers. We had a broader vision of the type of community marketplace we could build, and set about over the next four months to develop a new platform, which we launched in North Carolina on September 1.
EarlyGroove is now more than a place to find great events – we are an online directory and marketplace where community comes together at the intersection of innovation, creativity, connection, and well-being.
Our platform makes it easy for businesses, organizations, and individuals to share information, sell goods and services, and build connections in an ad-free, community-focused environment.
Even though we’ve launched, again, there will be more milestones and product launches as we release new features. For me, launching is less like sending a rocket along it’s carefully plotted course to a specific destination, and more like piloting a hot air balloon – where you can control the craft’s vertical trajectory, but the winds control the horizontal direction and in spite of careful planning, you can still land miles from your intended destination. You can’t control the wind, but you can complete the journey.
So it’s September 2020 and we’ve studied the winds, ascended our balloon, and are continuing to put in the work – fueling the passion, building the team, and appreciating the journey. If you’d like to learn more, join our groovy community, and let’s see where we go.